Sunday, 21 May 2017

Newly found stone-age hearths from Raseborg, Långåmossarna and Espoo, Urheilupuisto S. Finland

For the last couple of days we have been excavating a 6000-year old stone age dwelling site at Långåmossarna in Raseborg (S. Finland).

Drone photo of the area with the three hearths at Raseborg, Långåmossarna. Photo Max Hartwall.

At the same time another team of archaeologists have been excavating another site from the same time period in Espoo, ca 70 km east of Raseborg.

Two of the three stone-age hearths (layer two) from Långåmossarna (Raseborg).

Both sites have yielded many hearths and at least the eleven ones found in Espoo might be associated with the seasonal cooking of seal blubber during the period in question.

Hearth from Espoo, Urheilupuisto (layer one). Photo Mikroliitti Oy.

Bottom layer of a hearth from Espoo, Urheilupuisto. 

Great finds! It´s quite rare to have so many hearths found at the same time, and very interesting indeed to be able to compare them during the actual fieldwork. Sadly the hearths from Espoo only produced very limited amounts of dateable finds. We will have to wait until we get the results from the C-14 analysis until we know the excact chronology of the two sites.

Pottery (4000 BC) from Raseborg, Långåmossarna.

Saturday, 20 May 2017

Excavating the corded ware culture dwelling site @ Långåmossarna

We have been waiting a year for this. Today it was finally time to start the excavation of the corded ware culture dwelling site area at Långåmossarna. Not so many finds yet but we are only scratching the surface at this point. I hope that tomorrow we will be able to share more pictures about the finds and especially the features (the hearths)!

Excavating layer one.

Corded ware culture hearth (in the foreground), layer two.

Friday, 19 May 2017

Here comes the summer!

Day two excavating the early Comb Ceramic dwelling site at Långåmossarna  with beautiful students from Ekenäs Gymnasium and Ms. Karin Tatsugawa from Hiroshima, Japan.

Ms. Tatsugawa shows off one of the many 6000-year old potsherds she found today.

The day started out warm and foggy but as soon as we started excavating the sun broke through the fog and we could excavate in wonderful summer weather (+22 degrees Celsius). As expected the finds started mounting up when we reached layer two.

The excavation area, approximately  in the middle of the picture at the edge of the gravel pit.

The students started by clearing of the remains of layer one, after which me and Tia documented the first excavation level with the help of history teacher Vilhelm Lindroos. The students who helped out with the cleaning of the excavation level were rewarded with Ice Cream :)

Excavation area level one. The smaller fire cracked stones are all from hearths destroyed by 
stone-age wave- and Ice erosion.

In 2017 we´re going after the eally small fragments of burnt bone (mostly fish). We have opened up a couple of smaller excavation areas for more closer inspection.

Archaeology student Tia (University of Helsinki) excavating the area of a refuse pit filled with small fragments of burnt bone.

Todays finds were mostly comprised of larger ornate potsherds, quartz and porphyry flakes and burnt bone.

Early comb ceramic pottery (4500-4300 BC)

Spring met summer today :)

Thursday, 18 May 2017

The 2017 excavation season just started!

What a great week!

Last weekend we continued the Poetic Archaeology surveying of "Durchgangslager Hangö" with a permit from the landowner (Metsähallitus). With the official permit in hand it was now possible for us to take a closer look at the areas of the German transition camp that today are situated within the protected nature reserve area of Cape Tulliniemi.

Surveying "Durchgangslager Hangö" 13.5.2017. Photo Lasse Nyman

Although we were only scratching the surface we found acouple of very interesting find areas which we will excavate during the 2017 season. Below area a few finds from the first visit to Cape Tulliniemi later this year!

 Catholic WW2 prayer ring

German named "luggage" tag to Uffz. Franz Stäger.

German WW2 brass matchbox cover.

Today it was time to kickstart the excavations of the 6500 year old stone-age site at Långåmossarna in Raseborg (S. Finland). Over 20 students from the local schools showed up aand made a tremendous effort in clearing the top layers of the southernmost research area. Lots of finds too but more about those tomorrow. A big thanks to Karis-Billnäs Gymnasium and Ekenäs Gymansium for a superb day!

 The stone-age dwelling site @ Långåmossarna.

 The team 18.5.2017.

 Removing the topsoil.

 Topsoil successfully removed, time to excavate find layer 1.

"Side by side".

Thursday, 27 April 2017

Poetic Archaeology @ the 8th International Conference on Artistic Research

So looking forward to this presentation with Jan Martti Kaila on Saturday in Helsinki, Finland.


After years of hard work in Hanko it´s finally time to start communicating the results of our endeavours and our reseach to the general public and the scientific community.

The title of the session "Across the Disciplines" really sums it all up. In "Poetic Archaeology" Jan Martti Kaila, Japo Knuutila and I  are looking at the similarities (and boundaries) between photographic art, photographic reasearch and the conflict archaeology of a German WW2 transition camp in Hanko S. Finland.

Conflict archaeology excavation in progress.

Japo Knuutila has been of central importance to the project since the start. Below are some of his wonderful pictures of glass and porcellain objects from the excavations of the German WW2 (1942-1944) transition camp.

The cleaning of the items before photography was an interesting process in itself. During the several month long work of cleaning the excavation finds I  was extra careful not to "overclean" the fragile artefacts  thus leaving the patina and wear visible to the camera eye as well as future scientific chemical and other analysis of the finds.

Thursday, 20 April 2017

These WW2 helmets lay forgotten for decades in Hämeenlinna

There they lay, tens and tens of discarded WW2 helmets including a Swedish M21/M26, an Italian M33, a Czech M34, a Sovjet M40 and a Sovjet M36... All dumped on the site by the Finnish Defence Forces after WW2 (possibly in the 1960´s?).

WW2 helmet dump in Hämeenlinna prior to the Easter holidays. Photo Iisakki Kiemunki.

As news about the helmets leaked out in the social media people rushed to the site each to collect their own part of WW2 history.

Helmets and more helmets. Photo Iisakki Kiemunki.

While some visitors settled for one helmet others carried away as many as they possibly could. According to an eyewitness there was something of a queue to the area on Saturday. Some of the looters "proudly" showed off their salvaged finds on the metal detecting forum "Aarremaanalla" (Treasure below ground).

"Salvaged" helmets and the finder hiding behind a local newspaper.

On Sunday when I finally got to the site it was a complete mess. Someone even had tried (and managed) to dig a hole in the frozen ground, revealing (and breaking) even more helmets. Car tyre tracks on the site completed the sad sight.

Dug (?) helmets, before beeing loaded into an awaiting car. Photo by unknown.

According to interviews made by the Finnish National Broadcasting network (YLE) the area might be the same that was used for storing captured and discarded materiel during the period 1941-1944.
After 1945 most of the helmets were sold for scrap metal value or remade into kettles etc...

The same area in 1942. Photo SA-kuva.

After my visit to the site on Sunday April 16th I felt that the site might well be worth an archaeological excavation too see what the area is all about. Let´s see if somethingcould be arranged here with the help of some local institutions. Still a valid question remains, what to do with the finds? Before that question is settled the unhindered looting goes on and that makes me really really sad...

Wednesday, 29 March 2017

"Durchgangslager Hangö" Helsinki-Raseborg (Ekenäs)-Hanko-Turku-Raseborg (Karis)-Helsinki.

Yesterday I ventured on a 12 hour long (car) journey to promote the scientific conflict archaeological research of "Durchgangslager Hangö" and "Poetic Archaeology". The day included several stops including a radio interview, a short visit to Hanko to document a building associated with WW2, an interview with a 100-year old lady who had worked in a "Kantine" close to the German transition camp from 1942-1943 and finally a lecture at Karis Hembygdsförening in Raseborg.

Left picture from 1943 (SA-kuva) and on the right the same spot photographed yesterday 28.3.2017.

During the day I met many people who were interested in our project and especially the upcoming exhibitions in 2017 in Helsinki and in 2018 in Hanko. Needless to say I was quite exhausted by the time I got back home to Helsinki in the evening but the day was well worth it.

The high point of the day waswithout doubt the interview with the 100-year old lady in Turku. Despite her old age she had very vivid memories from her time in Hanko and the German soldiers who visited the "Kantine" in Hanko. Before her time in Hanko she worked in another "Kantine", this one close to the WW2 German transition camp called "Little Berlin" in Turku S. Finland.

The German transition camp called Little Berlin ("Pikku Berliini") in Turku (picture from 1950).

Before I went to sleep I checked my email and got more important news that adds to my doctoral dissertation in the shape of an eyewitness account from a Finnish diver who worked in Hanko harbour in the winter of 1942. There he witnessed the very harsh misbehaviour of German soldiers towards imprisoned (fellow) German soldiers (one of them probably didn´t survive the treatment) before beeing transferred to an awaiting German troop carrier. The imprisoned German soldiers had been brought to Hanko harbor by train (from the north?). A very sinister and disturbing story indeed...

German troop carrier in Hanko harbour in the winter of 1942. SA-kuva.

Tomorrow it´s time for a lecture at the research seminar (University of Helsinki dpt of Archaeology). It will be nice to meet fellow doctoral students and discuss many different aspects surrounding the conflict archaeology of the WW2 trasition camp in Hanko S. Finland

Tuesday, 7 March 2017

A few more cleaned finds from "Durchgangslager Hangö" 7.3.2017.

Today I spent most of the time at the "Poetic Archaeology" workspace at "Kaapelitehdas" arranging the find boxes with uncleaned finds from the large dump of the camp (excavations 2015-2016 and continued excavations in 2017).

I also managed to do some cleaning of a hundred or so finds, mostly beer bottle caps and unburnt bone today :). Below are a few photos of todays cleaned WW2 finds.

 Mirror fragment with makers mark Ernst Krause & co Wien XX

 The remains of a lamp from an officers barrack.

 Small ornate brass pin.

"Heer" medical tube.

 Norwegian one öre coin and Oslo tram token.

Text on a German toothpaste tube.

Monday, 6 March 2017

The "Organisation Todt" Volkswagen made stoves from "Durchgangslager Hangö"

There has been some discussions about the authenticiy of the VW markings on the "Organisation Todt" stoves found in "Durchgangslager Hangö". Below are a few pictures to settle the question.

A few more cleaned finds from "Durchgangslager Hangö"

Today was a rather busy day, lots of finds and only a limited amount of time. I have decided to take it easy although at times it seems like handling all of the thousands finds is an impossible task. At the moment it seems that I will have all the finds cleaned by the end of this month.

Japo Knuutila from "Poetic Archaeology" kindly borrrowed me one of his cameras so now I can share better pictures of the finds with you here!

 German bakelite soapboxes, an aluminium mug and a container for condensed milk. The green mug is Sovjet pre 1941.

 Text "NORWAY" on the back of an aluminium Sardine can.

 Broken German shoepolish container with the text "Sonderklasse".

 Anther French item with markings BARDIN SAINT-DENIS